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Shaikh al-Hadith Maulana Yusuf Motala hafizahullah

Translated & Prepared by Maulana Khalil Ahmed Kazi

THE NEED FOR SIMPLE WEDDINGS is a thought-provoking lecture by Shaikh al-Hadith

Maulana Yusuf Motala hafizahullah. The lecture was delivered on the occasion of a Nikah.
The Shaikh made a heartfelt plea for the need to adopt simplicity at weddings. This theme
was elaborated on by recounting examples from the life of the Holy Prophet
, his
as well as relating an incident from the life of Shaikh al-Hadith Maulana
Muhammad Zakariyya RA. In addition, the prevailing situation faced by Muslims globally was
used by the Shaikh to reinforce his basic message and stress the importance of maintaining
vigilance against the confronting dangers. In sum, the lecture proved very effective.
All praise is due to Allah. We praise Him. We seek His assistance and forgiveness. We
believe in Him and place our trust in Him. We seek refuge in Allah from the mischief of our
souls and our bad actions. He whom Allah guides no one can mislead, and he whom Allah
misleads, no one can guide. We bear testimony that there is no deity except Allah.
He is alone and has no partner and we bear testimony that our leader and master
Muhammad is His Servant and Messenger. O Allah, shower your everlasting peace and
blessings on him and on his descendants and his companions.
Almighty Allah says in the Holy Quran:
O Mankind! Be dutiful to your Lord, Who created you from a single person (Adam) and
from him He created his wife (Eve), and from them He created many men and women. Fear
Allah through whom you demand your mutual (rights), and (reverence) the wombs
(kinship). Surely, Allah ever watches over you. (4:1)
O you who believe! Fear Allah as He should be feared. And die not except in the state of
Islam (as Muslims). (3:102)
O you who believe! Keep your duty to Allah and fear him, and speak (always) the truth.
He will direct you to do righteous good deeds and will forgive you your sins. And
whosoever obeys Allah and His Messenger he has indeed achieved a great achievement.
The Holy Prophet
Marry such women as are affectionate, child producing for I wish to
outnumber the nations through you. (Abu Dawood & Nasai)
Nikah is my Sunnah. (Ibn Majah)
Whosoever turns away from my Sunnah is not of me. (Bukhari)
Friends! On this auspicious occasion of Nikah, I pray to Almighty Allah that He may instil
Muhabbat and Ulfat (love and affection) between the married couple, that through this

bond of marriage, pious and righteous children are born, and also that Muhabbat and Ulfat
is created between the families of the married couple. In addition, I invoke unto Almighty
Allah that He may find for all our young boys and girls pious and suitable partners. Ameen
This Nikah is a noble Sunnah of the Holy Prophet
. Simplicity would be the hallmark of
every Nikah performed by the Holy Prophet
. We are instructed in the Hadith that when
a suitable partner is found for a girl, then haste should be made in performing the Nikah. A
major reason for the marked increase in the number of unmarried boys and girls in presentday society stems mainly from neglecting the sound advice given in this Hadith. Nowadays
the Nikah is delayed in spite of having found a suitable partner for ones son or daughter. For
the sake of personal convenience, like going on a holiday or waiting for the arrival of some
guest, or some other programme, we unnecessarily delay the marriage.
I am conscious that this moment is one of joy and happiness. I do not want to dampen it. But
I must also digress a bit from the main topic of marriage and express the anguish of my heart
at the suffering of fellow Muslims, while we continue to indulge in comforts and luxuries. As
you know, the Holy Prophet
and his Companions
did not avail of luxuries despite
having the opportunity to do so; instead, they made rigorous Mujahadah (endeavour). By
the Barakah (blessings) of their Mujahadah each Companion became a great warrior, who
strove and persevered.
When we look inward into our own lives it reveals quite the opposite. We have become so
attached to worldly comforts and luxuries that it has, indeed, become difficult for us to
discharge our own necessities without relying on others. Over indulgence in ease and
comforts is also a significant reason for our misfortune and downfall. If only we realized the
true concept of Islamic brotherhood then to continue in extravagant celebrations would
really hit the raw inner of our consciousness. Presently, throughout the world, hundreds and
thousands of fellow Muslims are suffering at the hands of non-Muslims. So many of them
are held captives by the enemies of Allah, and the respect and dignity of so many others is
being looted, and above all, our brothers and sisters are helpless with no one to confront the
perpetrators of their misery. In this dire situation, our brothers and sisters are really in need
of every sip of water, every piece of grain and every single penny. Oh friends, is this really a
time to indulge in extravagant celebrations, merrymaking and rejoicing? This is surely against
the trend of Islamic brotherhood, and I say, it is also against humanity! When you see the
abundant favours of Allah so freely granted - especially when you sit to eat - then your eyes
should be filled with tears. At the same time, reflect on the plight and suffering borne by
Muslims around the world whose situation is most distressing. Despite what prevails before
our eyes, are we going to be like the ostrich with its head in the sand?
In this present era, the warning bells of danger to our Faith can be heard ringing aloud.
Although the situation is better here (as compared to that in other countries) but we cannot
be complacent. The tide of moral and religious degeneration is raining down on us from all
sides. We regularly hear incidents of how our progeny is being exposed to the ills prevalent
in this society. We must, therefore, be aware of the dangers and maintain a vigilant eye. We
should reflect on what is happening and take a firm grasp of the declining moral and
religious situation in this society.

In spite of hearing the plight and misery of Muslims, our feelings seem to remain static, and
we are largely unresponsive to their plight. We should try to alter this kind of outlook. Most
importantly, we should try and generate a genuine feeling for our Muslim brothers and
sisters. We should consider their suffering as our own. We should not behave in apathetic
manner, unaware of what is happening to them. Let us conduct ourselves honourably,
sharing their woes and grief wherever they may be in the world. Their suffering,
displacement and slaughter should be felt by all of us.
I have deliberately shed light on this subject because, nowadays, our wedding functions have
become such that vast sums of money are spent and this suggests a kind of indifference to
the suffering of Muslim at large. I, for one, do not condone this kind of attitude. On
occasions like this, I only wish that greater accountability would be taken. As I have already
explained, there are so many Muslims throughout the world in need, so many oppressed, so
many destitute and so many in need of every grain, yet our inner eyes remain closed. As
Shaikh al-Hadith Maulana Muhammad Zakariyya RA once wrote to his daughter, saying, Oh
daughter! When we depart from this world, our eyes will really open. Only then will we
Thus, we will only truly realize the extent of our self-deception once we have left this
transitory world. How we deceived our own selves. Only then will we truly appreciate the
significance of assisting the needy and helpless Muslims. If we are not able to do anything
else, then, at least we should develop a sincere concern for our fellow Muslims and pray for
them. Even this will not be overlooked by Almighty Allah, who will, InshaAllah, accord us
with much blessing and reward.
I now return to the subject of my initial discussion, that Nikah is a noble Sunnah of the
. This sublime act is such that it cannot accommodate any other custom;
simplicity, as I explained at the outset, is its hallmark. As such, there is no need for a large
assembly or congregation for its commemoration.
I will now briefly mention the nature of simplicity observed in weddings conducted at the
time of the Holy Prophet
. Once the Holy Prophet
noticed a stain of Itr (perfume) on
the garment of one of his Companion, Jabir ibn Abdullah
. Although use of Itr was
Sunnah, it would generally be applied only for special occasions like a wedding, or on
significant days like Friday and Eid. Seeing the blot, the Holy Prophet
enquired of Jabir
ibn Abdullah
: Have you married? He replied, Yes. The Holy Prophet
asked, Whom did you marry, a virgin or a widow? He replied, A widow. The Holy Prophet
said, Why did you not choose a virgin, that you might play with her and she might play
with you? I see you as a young man. Jabir ibn Abdullah
replied most gracefully, saying:
O Prophet
, my father was martyred in the battle of Uhad. He left behind nine small
sisters. Had I married a virgin then she would have become the tenth. That is why I have
married a widow, so that with her age and experience she could provide upbringing and
training for my sisters.
From this incident we can deduce that despite the presence of the Holy Prophet
Madina Munawwarah, there was no question of delaying the Nikah to the extent of even
informing let alone inviting him.

Thus, in the time of the Prophet

, whenever a suitable partner was found for a boy or girl,
the Nikah would be conducted without delay. It would not be treated as something so
significant as to require the attention or approval of the Holy Prophet
. For this reason
Shaikh al-Hadith Maulana Muhammad Zakariyya RA used to say, I can't understand all these
formalities for Nikah, because Nikah is an Ibadat (act of worship). When someone intends to
perform two Rakats of Salat then must he print posters and send everyone cards asking
them to assemble in the Jame Masjid before performing the two Rakats? What a beautiful
explanation the Shaikh provided. Since Nikah is also an Ibadat, then what is the need to print
cards and gather a large congregation?
The Shaikh himself practised what he preached. He married two of his daughters with
Hadhrat Jee Maulana Yusuf Sahib and Hadhrat Jee Maulana Inamul Hasan Sahib respectively.
The occasion of their marriage coincided with the annual graduation ceremony at Mazahirul
Uloom, Saharanpur. Both prospective son-in-laws were to graduate. The Shaikh, prior to
leaving for the graduation ceremony, went home and called out that I propose to wed
Maulana Yusuf with such a daughter and Maulana Inamul Hasan with such a daughter,
naming each daughter. This was the only type of announcement made in advance of the
Maulana Ihtishamul Haq Sahib, who happened to be the maternal uncle of the daughters
and also the brother-in-law of the Shaikh, as well as being a member of the household,
became upset at not being consulted about the marriage. He protested saying that he was
the maternal uncle of the girls, and as such, he should at least have been consulted prior to
their Nikah. However, the Shaikhs stance remained the same. As Nikah is an Ibadat what is
the need to notify everyone. The participants of the marriage were informed and that was
On the contrary, we have created so many unnecessary formalities that if perchance the
wedding feast is not held on the day of the wedding, we make full amends by holding a large
Walimah (a meal after consummating the marriage) the following day.
The practise of Walimah was also celebrated by the Holy Prophet
but not in the same
manner in which we are accustomed to. When Khaiber was conquered, among the prisoners
of war included Safiyyah
, the daughter of a Jewish chief. Dihya Qalbi
requested the
Holy Prophet
for a maid. The Prophet
said, Go and take any slave girl. He took
. At this, the other Sahabah
approached the Prophet
and said: O,
Prophet of Allah! Banu Nazir and Banu Quraizah (the Jewish tribes of Madina) will feel
offended to see the daughter of a Jewish chief working as a maid. We therefore suggest that
she is only suitable for you. The Prophet
called Dihya and said, Take any seven slave
girls but leave her (i.e. Safiyya). The Prophet
then freed her from slavery and married
her. In the tradition reported in Sahih Al-Bukhari, we are further told that they had left
Khaiber and on the way, Umme Sulaim
dressed her for marriage and at night she sent
her as a bride. The following day Walimah feast was arranged with whatever was available.
The point I really want to elicit from this story is the manner in which the Walimah was
organized. It was such a simple affair. The Holy Prophet
asked his companions to bring

their own food. He spread out an eating mat and some brought dates and others cooking
butter. This was the manner in which the Walimah of Allah's Messenger
was celebrated.
Friends! The teachings of our religion, as exemplified by the Holy Prophet
, impress upon
us simplicity. We need to change our approach and attitude to life and adopt these simple
and noble practises.
I again reiterate that there is need for us to change our present outlook. We should replace
our indifference and apathy to the suffering borne by fellow Muslims and replace it with a
genuine feeling of love and consideration. Only then will we merit the pity of Allah. If we are
sincere Muslims then let us mirror the loss sustained by our brothers and sisters. Such
should be our grief that it shows on our faces, cause feelings of pain and revulsion in our
hearts and makes sour the food and drink we consume. This should be a natural reaction to
hearing any kind of tragedy befalling Muslims. Alas, there is a great need to re-establish true
Islamic brotherhood in this day and age.
In the end, I pray to Almighty Allah that He grants us all the Tawfiq (strength and ability) to
appreciate the delicate age we live in and that He fully rectifies us in all respects Ameen.
And our last call is that all praise be to the Lord of the worlds and peace and blessings be
upon the Master of the Messengers, his descendants and his companions.